Amanda Rader

Social Work Trainee

Traineeship Year:

Amanda is a MSW graduate at Arizona State University (Tucson campus). She has a BA in Sociology and Spanish, a MA in International Politics, and is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer.  With a background in international experiential education, Amanda has explored the confluence of micro and macro factors playing into global imbalances.  In her free time, Amanda enjoys hiking, backpacking, and any activities that immerse her in nature.


  • MSW


     I learned about the Pediatric Pulmonary Center from my Field Advisor at the Tucson branch of the ASU School of Social Work. The previous year I immersed myself in school social work, and in my second year I was excited to continue to deepen and expand my social work knowledge and experiences. Having chosen the Advanced Direct Practice concentration, but also with a natural inclination for macro-level analysis and advocacy, the PPC was a natural choice for me. Also, having been raised in a family with health professionals, I had learned about the joys and challenges of our healthcare system, and also more recently the power of multidisciplinary models of care.  All to say, I felt the PPC model offered immense opportunities for learning and growth.

     Naturally, being a PPC social work trainee during the COVID-19 pandemic made for a unique experience. The lectures, conferences, interdisciplinary projects, and most meetings and clinics were held virtually. The only in-person interactions I had were with my Field Supervisor and PPC faculty (Randee Luben), several home visits, and monthly clinics for children with severe asthma.  Despite the limitations of this reality, particularly in formation of deeper relationships with other PPC trainees and professionals from different disciplines, I learned an immense amount, and had a holistic experience that will certainly guide me forward as a social worker.

     Throughout the course of the PPC, it was a privilege to meet inspiring and courageous patients with pulmonary diseases and their families, and learn the importance of centering their voices and experiences in the course of collaborating in their care.  I was able to gain insight into leadership, and learn about my own strengths and weaknesses as a leader.  Through listening to various taped lectures, I was able to learn about various themes around cystic fibrosis, severe asthma, and other pulmonary disorders.  Additionally, I learned about the nuances of research, with particular emphasis on ethics, as well as lessons in advocacy and politics when it comes to changing policy in efforts to improve patients’ and families’ lives.  Through written reflections, I engaged in thoughts around these topics with other budding leaders in a variety of disciplines, including nutrition, pharmacy, and nursing.  The sense of solidarity and common cause was evident through these exchanges, and I believe we all grew greater respect and understanding for each other in our respective fields.

     Notably, particularly given the historical moment that we inhabit as we continue to grapple with racially-motivated violence and structural inequities, throughout the year we had several opportunities to engage in dialogue about these issues.  The MCH competencies guided our learning, and this notion of “cultural competence” was just one of twelve core competencies that we explored over the course of the year.  

     The opportunity to work on a capstone project, while it demanded a great deal of work, provided opportunities for growth along a number of lines.  First, I was able to collaborate with the other PPC social work trainee, Kelsey Pinckney, which was a very valuable and fruitful experience in teamwork.  We created a small research project and curriculum of Creative Wellness workshops to offer to both adolescent patients and their caregivers.  With Randee’s support, we submitted a proposal to the IRB and were able to bring the project to fruition with great success.

     It was a whirlwind of experiences!  I am grateful for all those who make it possible, which I’ve come to understand is a large and powerful network of compassionate, committed individuals with hopes for improved health and wellbeing for children, adolescents and families.  Thank you for all of your energy, vision and commitment.

Presentations and Projects